19 December 2012

'Kuan's Wonderland' for Schools

A national project in 2013 is bringing 'Kuan's Wonderland' to readers aged 14 upwards with a set of specially produced learning resources. In addition to the fast-paced story line and intriguing plot twists, you will be able to find out more about the allegorical aspects of this political fable, the allusions to other literary works, and references to contemporary issues. If you would like to know more, details can be obtained from The Equality Trust.

20 November 2012

Sit back, enjoy an unsettling read for Christmas...

For five days only, from 7 to 11 December 2012, you’ll be able to download Kuan’s Wonderland, for free from Amazon.

Once you've read this dark fable about the nightmare world of Shiyan, recommend it to your friends.

If you haven’t got a Kindle, Amazon will provide you with a free Kindle App so you can download the novel onto your laptop, iPad, Mac, PC, or any electronic device you prefer.

Get the novel from amazon.co.uk: amazon.co.uk

Or from amazon.com: amazon.com

28 July 2012

New Review of Kuan just out

Kuan's Wonderland has just been reviewed by Trish Burns in Fantasy Book Review. Positive, insightful, and no hint of a spoiler on the numerous plot-twists. Here's an extract from the review: "The story is original and very engaging. The fast-moving adventure in a new world, which sparkles with visually captivating creatures and imaginative technology, has already begun by the first line. He faces many challenges of which the main one is to hold onto his independent view and his compassion for those affected by the actions of others. The search for his father, his mainstay throughout the story, ends in a way which is credible yet astonishing. The book does not pull its punches about the way in which people (and aliens) treat each other. In engaging with real-world troubles which don’t have tidy solutions, it offers more than we normally expect from the fantasy genre." Read the full review here: http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/book-reviews/kuans-wonderland-by-henry-tam/

15 July 2012

Hope or Surrender

To live in hope for something better or to surrender in stoic resignation - that is often presented as the choice those in extremely trying circumstances have to make. But what Kuan's experiences show is that sometimes the only hope may involve giving up a most important part of one's life. The catch is that you do not surrender the wrong part. The choice is not easy, and the most difficult element is to realise what sacrifice the choice will inevitably involve.

01 July 2012

What's in a Genre?

In a novel where nothing is as it seems, the very genre it appears to adopt needs to be questioned. Many readers of Kuan's Wonderland have remarked that although it uses fantasy/sci-fi elements in its narrative, it stands apart from those genres in being an allegorical novel about the world as it is. That is what they have found that subversive nature most appealing. So regardless of whether you are normally keen on tales that venture into surreal circumstances, imbibe the fable.

28 June 2012

The names of the crew

Long before I wrote Kuan's Wonderland I penned a short story for younger readers about a mouse captured by a submarine controlled by cats. The key members of this crew were Captain Ted Niu, Professor Tate Foss, and Doctor Eric Maa. The rather obvious allegory in that tale became a more complex reflection on power.

Oran Clinic

I took the name 'Oran' from the place where Camus' The Plague took place. Against evil one has to make a choice, to succumb or fight resolutely. It is not an easy choice. But literature exercises the heart and mind. The Oran Clinic is a tribute to Camus' moral stance and what we should learn from it.

Shiyan: the Experiment

'Shiyan' means 'Experiment' in Chinese. It represents an experiment in how society is organised in accordance with the Chairman's wishes. It is also an experiment for Kuan to see if he can regain that which had slipped away from him.

15 May 2012

K for Kafka?

Was it deliberate that the main character's name begins with a 'K'? Kafka has always been an important influence on me. The oppressive suffocation at the societal and psychological level his works depict so well are also treated in Kuan's Wonderland. There is a running tribute to Kafkaesque confinement through the novel. The real significance of Kuan's name, however, lies elsewhere.

08 May 2012

Escape from what?

Kuan is not just escaping from different characters who pose a threat to him, but from different levels of predicament. Through his eyes, we come to see what is the real threat he must struggle against, within himself and out there in the world. For this reason, the novel is both a story about how others may hold us down by force or deceit, and a psychological thriller about the danger of not understanding our own fears.

07 May 2012

Is Shiyan a reflection of China?

Shiyan is fast changing. The question is whether anyone should be happy to see those changes. If it makes you think about what China is becoming, or for that matter, America or any powerful country, then it's all to the good. Shiyan is not a mirror to any particular nation. It is a world where disturbing things are happening without too many serious objections being raised. But then Kuan arrives.